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Products for grant FA-37990-03

Melodies for the Santus and Agnus Dei of the Roman Mass with their Tropes and Prosulas
Charles Atkinson, Ohio State University

Grant details:

The Critical Nexus: Tone-System, Mode, and Notation in Early Medieval Music. (Book) [show prizes]
Title: The Critical Nexus: Tone-System, Mode, and Notation in Early Medieval Music.
Author: Charles M. Atkinson
Abstract: In the eleventh century of the common era, several writers on music begin to complain about "mistakes” that had crept into the singing of the venerable Gregorian chant, or distortions in the proper flow of its melodies. One such author, known to modern readers as "Pseudo-Odo," even mentions that it is sometimes necessary to emend the melodies themselves. But if the chant were indeed divinely inspired, which had long been the assumption, then there would be no need to emend it at all. In The Critical Nexus, Charles Atkinson unravels this vexing mystery by creating a broad framework that moves from Greek harmonic theory to the various stages in the transmission of Roman chant. Out of this examination emerges the central point behind the problem: the tone-system founded in the Greek harmonic tradition and advocated by several medieval writers was not well suited to the notation of chant, and this basic incompatibility led to the creation of new theoretical constructs. By tracing the path of subsequent adaptation at the nexus of tone-system, mode, and notation, Atkinson brings new and far-reaching insights into what mode meant to the medieval musician and how the system responded to its inherent limitations.
Year: 2009
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Type: Single author monograph